Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Lepers in our Head

Last night Adam Lambert sang U2’s "One" on American Idol. After the song, he told Ryan Seacrest that the lyrics to the song are really beautiful and people should check them out. So I did. And one line jumped out at me from the song, a line that was not in Lambert's version. And the line is this:

"Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head."

That jumped out as a terrific way to put what so many people do: they try to be Jesus to the rejection and unacceptable behavior in their life. Many try to be Jesus in healing or dealing with being ostracized or outcast, either by ourselves or others.

And then we wonder why we still hurt. We wonder why we don't change. We wonder why we still feel empty.

It's because Jesus is replaced by our own human determination, education, emotionalism, winsomeness, independence, pulling ourselves up by our boot straps and pride in thinking we can do it ourselves. Delegating to Jesus is not logical or relevant. Many don't even know who He is and others who claim Him as their Savior haven't gotten around to claiming Him as their Lord.

In the Bible, Jesus heals the lepers. These were physically marked by their highly contagious disease, resulting in being outcasts from society. We are lepers yet today: ostracized in our own minds because we keep making mistakes: can't break the addiction; can't get the relationships right; can't get our anger or spending under control, and on and on. We castigate ourselves as much as anyone; maybe for the same things our family, friends and society give us heck for, and maybe for different things.

The point is, whether it's coming from inside or outside of us, we are lepers to ourselves and others in one way or another. I'm a leper to the person who wrote me off after we had a disagreement. I'm a leper to myself when I repeat a sinful thought or action. I'm a leper to some people simply for being a born again Christian. Conversely, we carry other people as lepers in our hearts and minds. That person who wrote me off was becoming a leper to me: but God, because I'm asking Him to, is gradually replacing animosity towards that person with compassion and forgiveness.

This is what Jesus walks into: the cave that is our life where He reaches out and dares to touch the untouchable in us. Through Jesus entering into our bodies, minds, hearts and souls, the leprosy is finally dealt with. The leprosy of sin can now be handled and eradicated through the power of the Holy Spirit and God's Word. The leprosy of being persecuted, laughed at, mocked and stereotyped because of our faith and righteous living (and the mistakes we continue to make as Christians that garner the label "hypocrite" by the world) can be lived within the joy and confidence of knowing Who we belong to and Who we aim to please. We go forward sure of the promise that God knows those who are His and will never forsake us.

Since we are His, then why do we think for a minute that we can be God? Will the clay try to be the potter? (Isaiah 64:8) We are not the Triune God and never will be, to ourselves or anyone else. Today, will we willingly and humbly fall at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to come in and touch the lepers that reside in our head?

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'" Luke 13:34-35

"While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, 'Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.' Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. 'I am willing,' he said. 'Be clean!' And immediately the leprosy left him." Luke 5:12-13

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